Thursday, October 17, 2013

Days of Wine and Vinyl: Featuring Winterlong, Lives of the Obscure, and The Soul of John Black

Desk is crowded.  Turntable is spinning.

Time for a quick rundown on some of the latest vinyl to drop into the Ripple Office

Winterlong - Five Songs

One thing we love to do is to give a shout to a new record label that pressing up vinyl.  We've seen some great additions recently to the vinyl world, with companies like Tsurami Records in Washington, and the latest brothers in arms company to add to the list is Glacial Records in New York.  Aimed for the lovers of bands like Chavez and Guided by Voices, Winterlong is Glacial Records first foray into the sexy world of vinyl, and let's hope it won't be their last.  Winterlong play a roughly melodic brand of post-hardcore with some serious math tendencies.  That means herky-jerky time changes, complex arrangements, serious playing and just enough melody to make it all hang together.   Mixed by Dean Baltulonis of Sick of it All, Lucero and others, it's an aggressive stab at aggit-pop.  I particularly dig the harmony vocals, adding some nice depth to the cacophony.  I'm not the world's biggest fan of post-hardcore/math rock, so you could say this is out of my wheelhouse, but even I respect the craft here.  If the bands I mentioned hit your soft spot, you should give these lads a shot.





Lives of the Obscure - Deathfete

Right off the bat, I knew that Deathfete, my second offering from wax pressers, Glacial Records was gonna hit a little bit closer to home.  The one-sheet started off with mention of Joy Division before quickly popping into Flaming Lips and ending with Birthday Party.  Elsewhere I see mention of Joan of Arc, and Talking heads.  Now you're talking.  Pulling the Teardrop Explodes album off my turntable I was immediately engulfed in the post-punk throbbing bass and chiming guitars of "Skin of the Sun."   Now you're talking.  Taking one page from those heady days of post-punk and throwing in a bucketfull of post-everything else, "Skin of the Sun" is a bleeding pulse of darkened dissonance, held together by the weight of that bass.  Vocals a bit shrill for me, but the point comes across loud and clear.  Angular pop birthed in a funeral shroud.  Flipside, "Sins Like These" cuts through the ear canal with a slice of dischordant guitar before stepping into a quasi-fugue exploration of frayed nerves and opened veins.  Never rising above the rate of a dying heartbeat, it's a edgy spewing of lo-fi eccentric pop.  Not out of place in a post-80's, post-punk world, or today.   Overall, I prefer the spastic throb of "Skin" but I'll take em both.  A keeper.




The Soul of John Black - A Sunshine State of Mind

My favorite soul singer from the classic 70's is Bill Withers. My favorite soul singer of the modern era is without a doubt, The Soul Of John Black.  Utilizing the same variety of beats and tempos, with a good dose of rock and a handfull of blues, The Soul of John Black returns with his latest long-player and it's a must listen for fans of classic 70's soul.  Very retro in it's organic production and composition, there's no fancy drum machines or annoying "producer tricks" like you'd find on a Timbaland effort.  This is warm and rich, begging for a night of wine and lovemaking in front of the fire.  And Bill Withers is the perfect reference point, from the jaunty rocking of "Lemonade" with comes on like "Use Me," to the dirtier blues of "Magic Woman" which starts off in the same swamp as Credence Clearwater Revival.  "Beautiful Day" is exactly the type of soul-enriching song of joy that Withers would've churned out on his classic Still Bill album.  Throughout, John Black's voice is rich and nuanced and goes down as easily as a fine burboun.  If you dig 70's style soul, you really must check this album out.

--Racer


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